Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center
Walla Walla VA anticipates COVID-19 vaccine soon
The Walla Walla VA Medical Center (Walla Walla VA) is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, expected to arrive in the next days/weeks ahead. The Walla Walla VA is finalizing its vaccination plan to initially vaccinate both essential health care workers and enrolled Veterans at the highest risk of serious illness should they contract the virus.
VA is offering COVID-19 vaccines at 37 VA facilities nationwide at this time; more vaccine shipments are due to be released soon to the other VAs across the U.S., including the Walla Walla VA.
About the vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine via an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Manufactured by Pfizer, the vaccine has proven to be 95% effective in clinical trials with limited side effects. On December 17, FDA reviewed and ultimately approved the EUA authorization for the second COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, Inc. Moderna plans to begin distribution of its vaccine starting as early as the week of December 21.
These initial shipments of vaccine mark a crucial first step in getting COVID-19 under control.
Who will be offered the vaccine first?
The initial supplies of the vaccine will be extremely limited. Per CDC guidance, VA will begin vaccinating health care personnel – as they are essential in continuing to care for patients throughout the pandemic – and Veteran inpatients in Community Living Centers and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Centers. VA will vaccinate additional Veterans at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 after health care personnel have been offered vaccine.
VA’s ultimate goal is to offer the vaccine to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.
Contacting Veterans for vaccine appointments
It is important to understand that many Veterans will not be able to get the vaccine during these initial rollouts. To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, Veterans should not come into a VA facility looking to receive a vaccine, nor to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Walla Walla VA care teams will be reaching out to contact Veterans once the vaccine is available, based on their personal risk factors and vaccine availability. In the meantime, Veterans can sign up to receive updated information at this site.
Keep up the 3Ws!
It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Even after vaccination, Veterans and employees should continue to:
- Wear a face covering
- Watch your distance (stay 6 feet apart)
- Wash hands frequently
And please continue to follow federal, state, and local safety guidelines.
VA is eager to begin administering the vaccine and asks all Veterans and VA health care personnel for their patience during these initial rollouts.
Important resources for you
- VA COVID-19 vaccine website
- Coronavirus FAQs
- VA's public health response
- CDC COVID-19 vaccine website
- FDA Emergency Use Authorization
If you would like additional information or if you have questions about the vaccination plan at the Walla Walla VA and its outlying clinics, please contact Linda Wondra, Public Affairs Officer, at 509.525,5200, ext. 26520 or call 509.386.1117 (cell).